Consumers should know the facts when it comes to buying a Cold Climate Heat Pump (HP) and whether it will help save money heating their house. See Appendix and URLs.





Using HPs in Vermont


An electric HP works best in a one-story house with an open floor plan, i.e., kitchen/living/dining one big room. They do not heat the whole house, only the room where an appliance is located.


In a typical Vermont house, a HP will displace some fuel oil, but you still need a fuel oil (or propane or wood) central heating system operating in the winter to ensure pipes do not freeze.


- When pipes freeze up, they can crack and cause significant damage. One freeze up with broken water and/or heat pipes can cost thousands of dollars to repair.

- Whether the fuel oil displacement “saves money” depends on the efficiency of the central heating system, the fuel price electricity price and insulation and sealing of the house. See note.


NOTE: The net effect of a regressive carbon tax on heating fuels is to artificially increase the heat pump energy savings, i.e., artificially shift the economics in favor of heat pumps for state policy reasons.


Burlington Electric Department of Vermont Severely Curtailed Its Heat Pump Program


According to BED, Efficiency Vermont's estimated savings were grossly exaggerated. "BED is scaling back its 2018 – 2020 projections of HPs installed in the City of Burlington, VT, due to the results of a 2017 VT DPS evaluation report. See URL.



The VT-DPS evaluation report indicates:


- The owners of the surveyed HPs had average savings of about $200/heat pump per year

- The owners displaced, on average, only about 34% of their annual fuel oil, i.e., the other 66% of fuel oil was supplied by the traditional heating system.


The VT-DPS report did not mention other HP financial impacts on owners, such as:


- Annual loan payments to utilities, such as GMP. See table 1 and Appendix for details.

- Annual maintenance contract fees, at about $150 per year, no parts

- Cost for unscheduled outages, at about $150 per call, no parts

- Amortizing the $5000 heat pump at 5% for 15 years requiring annual payments of $474 per year

- Amortizing the $10000 traditional back-up system a 5% for 20 years requiring annual payments of  $792 per year


Instead of installing hundreds of HPs during the 2019, 2020, 2021 period, BED is now anticipating, i.e., making money available in its budget, to provide incentives for no more than 15 HPs during that period.


Those few HPs likely would be in pre-selected, highly insulated/highly sealed houses to ensure 85 to 100 percent of displacement of fuel oil. Google Burlington Electric 2018 Tier 3 Plan, which BED is required to submit the VT-Public Utilities Commission every three years. The Plan describes the BED HP intentions for that period.

NOTE: The BED intentions barely were mentioned by the VT mass media, because it does not bode well for the VT Comprehensive Energy Plan goal of 35000 HPs by 2025. That goal was based not on any analysis, but likely on a number picked out of a hat by bureaucrats. See Appendix.

Primary Reason for HPs


A majority of Vermont houses are heated with hot water, thus lacking the ductwork necessary for a central air conditioning system. In fact, according to the 2016 survey conducted by the UVM Center for Rural Studies, less than 10% of consumers in Vermont purchase a HP specifically for heat. They want it for air conditioning.


NOTE: They could have bought a $600, floor-mounted AC unit from House Depot, instead of a $5000 HP from an Efficiency Vermont-approved contractor.


Consumers who use a HP for heating often complain it does not provide the same warmth and comfort as a central heating system.


Heat pumps circulate air that feels relatively cool. Unlike a furnace, which provides heat for a few minutes and then turns off, HPs run longer at cooler temperatures.


If the air temperature from the HP is below skin temperature, that air will feel cool, especially when there is a velocity of air across the body. Consumers report feeling cool and uncomfortable, if the air temperature from the HP is below skin temperature.


This is reflected in research using the U.S. Department of Energy simulation tools (BeOpt and EnergyPlus) to quantify comfort level associated with various heating sources.  


Air from HPs is colder than 100F 65% of the time. The resulting discomfort may cause consumers to rely more on their central heating system.


A study released by the Consortium for Advanced Residential Buildings (CARB) further addressed the uncertainties about the capacity and efficiency of HPs in cold weather (Exh. VFDA-7).


According to the report, “these uncertainties could lead to skepticism among owners; poor energy savings estimates; sub-optimal system selection by HVAC contractors; and inconsistent energy modeling.”


The report goes onto to state, "the results from this monitoring effort show a wide range of performance with many systems performing below expectations. More work is needed to better assess energy consumption and capacities of these systems in different climates and house configurations."


Example in Maine: Energy Cost Savings No HP and With HP


Using data from the Emera Maine Heat Pump Pilot Program, conducted by EMI Consulting, it appears the installation of a HP resulted energy cost savings as shown in table 1.  


Emera used $3.90/gal in 2014, but the 2018 price is about $2.70/gal, which is used in table 1. See table 2-1 in URL



However, if an owner gets a loan from the utility, a typical payment would be about $660/y.

See Appendix of this URL



NOTE: With a carbon tax on fuel oil the scale can be tipped in favor of HPs.


Table 1


With HP

Fuel oil price, $/gallon



Electricity price, $/kWh


Fuel oil, gal/y



Fuel oil displaced by HP, gal/y


Fuel oil cost, $/y



Electricity consumed, kWh/y


Electricity cost, $/y


Total energy cost, $/y



Energy cost saving, $/y



Utility loan, $/y


Amortize back-up system, $/y*



Total cost, $/y



LOSS, $/y



Not Counted

Maintenance contract for HP, no parts, $/y


Outage calls for HP, no parts, $/call


Maintenance contract for back-up system, no parts, $/y



Outage calls for back-up system, no parts, $/call




* Amortize $10,000 back-up system at 5% for 20 y


Factors Other Than Energy Prices?


The United States Department of Energy Buildings Technology Program made a study in a laboratory of two popular HPs:


- Fujitsu 12 RLS

- Mitsubishi FE12pA


In their report, they determined the coefficient of performance for two popular models of HPs. The results are expressed in the graph in this URL.



As the outdoor temperature decreases so does the efficiency of the HP.

This is the opposite of the efficiency of fuel oil and propane central heating systems. As it gets colder their idle losses decrease and their efficiencies increase. Oil and propane systems become more efficient, the colder it gets.


Example in Maine: Heating a House Using a HP


Maine's HP Subsidy Program


Maine has provided generous subsidies to HPs, which resulted in 25,700 HPs installed during the past 5 years/

Efficiency Maine offers rebates of $500 to $750 per qualifying HP. 

Total rebates extorted from ratepayers and taxpayers:


Subsidy @ $500/HP = 25,700 units x $500 = $13,325,000

Subsidy @ $750/HP = 25,700 units x $750 = $19,275,000


NOTE: Whereas owners feel good about getting a discount due to the subsidy, in reality, installers merely increase their prices to capture nearly the entire subsidy. The same is true for PV systems.


Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) Study of HP in Maine


BNL developed an 8,760-hour model of a 2,500 sq. ft. house in Maine.


The Model: The model calculates the hour-by-hour energy consumption, Btu, by the heat pump and back-up system, to determine consumption for any period (hour, day, month, year), based on:


- Heat pump performance data versus temperature,

- Back-up system performance data versus temperature

- Hourly weather data

- Hourly solar heat gain

- Hourly occupancy data



The House: A ranch style house, 2500 sq ft, located in Portland, ME, was modeled to develop a typical residential load profile for this location. It has typical "code" construction, standard 2 x 4 stud walls, a basement, and a peak roof, R-30. Set point is constant at 70 F for heating, i.e., no night setback. A family of 4 is assumed and domestic hot water use is 63.4 gal/day, which is the national average currently used in the DOE water heater test procedure. See table 2  


Table 2/Location

Portland, ME

Size, ft2


Family Size





Code compliant

DHW use, gal/d


Setback, F


Building Type



The study compared a fuel oil, non-condensing furnace (that also heats domestic hot water) with a Two-Head, Mini-Split, 38,000 Btu HP. Fuel oil price $2.75/gal. Electricity price $0.155/kWh


The three assessed operating modes of operation are:


Base: Oil-fired boiler heats the house

Mode 2: Oil-fired boiler heats the house in December, January and February and the HP all other times

Mode 3: HP heats the house and when the HP can no longer sufficiently heat the house (it is maxed out), the fuel oil back-up system supplements the heating (both systems are run at the same time). Usually this is accomplished by setting the HP thermostats at a higher temperature that the back-up system.


NOTE: In Mode 3, the HP was inefficiently operated to maximum capacity on cold days, i.e., having low COP*


- That likely would displace the most gallons of fuel oil (as shown in table 3), but would require much more electricity.

- That likely was not the most economical way to operate, because (as was found in the other examples of hourly operating costs), at 0F and below, it is better economics to use ONLY the fuel oil back-up system. See table 3


* COP = delivered heat by HP (as Btu/h) / electricity supplied to HP (as Btu/h)


NOTE: With a carbon tax on fuel oil the scale can be tipped in favor of HPs.


Table 3/Maine


Mode 1

Mode 2

Fuel oil price, $/gallon




Electricity price, $/kWh




Fuel oil, gal/y




Fuel oil displaced by HP, gal/y




Fuel oil cost, $/y




Electricity consumed, kWh/y



Electricity cost, $/y



Total energy   cost, $/y




Energy cost saving, $/y



Utility loan, $/y



Amortize back-up system, $/y*




Total cost, $/y




LOSS, $/y




Not Counted

Maintenance contract for HP, no parts, $/y



Outage calls for HP, no parts, $/call



Maintenance contract for back-up system, no parts, $/y




Outage calls for back-up system, no parts, $/call





* Amortize $10,000 back-up system at 5% for 20 y


BNL found:


- The HP output, Btu/h, decreased from: 100% at 60F; 45% at 0F; 35% at -10F

- The HP COP decreased from: 3.0 at 48F; 2.5 at 30F; 1.7 at 0F; 1.1 at -20F


According to the graph:


- The peak energy input to the furnace was about 85000 Btu/h, as fuel oil.

- In Mode 2, the HP was operated from about the end of March to the end of November; the red areas on the graph

- The fuel oil system was operated during winter months; the blue areas of the graph. See graph in this URL



The peak heat demand of the house was 85000 x 128488, LHV/138490, HHV x 0.85, efficiency = 67032 Btu/h. See notes and graph in this URL



According to the graph, the peak energy input to the HP was about 81000 Btu/h.


According to the graph, the COP appears to be about 1.0, equivalent to electric heating, during peak heat demand.

See graph in this URL


NOTE: Some of the higher-heating-value Btus are used to create water vapor resulting from hydrogen combustion. The lower-heating-value Btus should used to provide heat to the house.

EPA calculates efficiencies of residential wood appliances based on 8600 Btu/lb of dry wood, the higher heating value

EPA calculates PM10 emissions based on heat output, Btu/h.


NOTE: About 10.9% of the Btus of the electricity input to the HP is lost due to standby loss and defrost loss of the HP. See URL



Emissions of EPA-Certified Stove


The emissions for an EPA-certified wood stove in 2020, with 80% efficiency and 50,000 Btu/h output (enough for a recent, well-sealed and well-insulated house in New England) would be 1000000/50000 x 2.0 = 40 g/million Btu, or 0.0881 lb/million Btu, based on heat output, or 0.0881 x 50000/62500 = 0.0705, based on heat input. See table 4.


Table 4/Conversion of g/h to lb/million Btu



Stove output, Btu/h


Stove input, Btu/h






g/million Btu


lb/million Btu (heat output)


lb/million Btu (heat input)



Heat delivered could be added to:


1) A hot water circulating loop

2) A warm air circulating loop

3) An open-floor-plan space

International Energy Conservation Code for Residences


ACH requirements of the IECC for new houses are shown in table 5.

There has been no change in required ACH values for the 2012 - 2021 period; the code is issued every three years.



Table 5/ACH



Climate zone

 2009 IECC

 2012/2015/2018 IECC

1 – 2

 < 7ACH at -50 pascal

 < 5 ACH at -50 pascal

3 – 8

 < 7 ACH at -50 pascal

 < 3 ACH at -50 pascal


Passivhaus, the Gold Standard for Energy Efficiency


The Passivhaus standard, formulated in Germany, dates from the mid 1980s.

A free-standing Passivhaus, 2000 ft2, maximum heating demand 10 W/m2 x 186 m2 = 1.86 kW, or 6,348 Btu/h, or 3.2 Btu/ft2/h applies to all climate zones; for climate zone 6 the heating demand would be at -20F outdoors and 65F indoors.

A 2 kW, thermostat-controlled electric heater in the air supply duct could be the heating system!

No expensive GSHP system is required!!


The house, tested with a blower door at 0.6 ACH, at -50 pascal, would have average naturalventilation of about 0.06 ACH, much less than the recommended minimum of 0.5 ACH.


However, that is not relevant, because the house would have an HVAC system, with supply and return ductwork to each room, to supply a minimum of 0.5 ACH to the house for health reasons.

The house would have with an air-to-air heat exchanger to transfer the Btus of the stale exhaust air to fresh incoming air.

Available models have 85% efficiency, i.e., very few Btus are lost.

The house could have a HEPA filter to filter the fresh incoming air.


Vermont Houses


About 78.4% of all Vermont free-standing houses, built prior to 2000, have high heating demands; they are energy hogs.

Newer houses, built during the 2000 - 2012 period, were required to have 7 ACH or less at -50 pascal, per IECC.

All of these houses do not require fan-driven ventilation, because their average naturalinfiltration is about 0.7 ACH, more than the 0.5 ACH for health reasons. See table 4


Newer houses, built during the 2012 – 2021 period, have more insulation and sealing, and are required to have a blower door test to achieve 3 ACH or less at -50 pascal, per IECC.

All of these houses require fan-driven ventilation, because their average natural infiltration is about 0.3 ACH, less than the 0.5 ACH required for health reasons.


Air Source Heat Pumps


If a Vermont house would to be heated with an ASHP is must be: 1) well-sealed and well-insulated, and 2) have a low heating demand on cold days, and 3) have low air infiltration, i.e., 3.0 ACH or less, at -50 pascal, per blower door test.

All the rest of the Vermont houses, 88.4%, are unsuitable. See table 4.


All of this has been known for about 20 years, so it should not be a surprise to find owners with ASHPs in their energy-hog houses, hoping to “reduce their energy bills”, end up having near-zero, or minimal annual energy cost savings.


They were naively lured with cash subsidies and deceived by misleading propaganda from various ASHP promoters, such as GMP, VPIRG, and Efficiency Vermont with its “approved” installers, etc.


After much complaining by owners to their legislative representatives, etc., the Vermont Department of Public Service finally conducted a survey of the operation and costs of about 80 ASHPs in owners’ houses.

DPS found the average annual energy cost saving was $200/ASHP/y (some owners had more, others had less savings).


The ASHP has a turnkey capital cost of about $4500, and has about a 15-y useful service life.

Most owners would lose significant money each year, if the cost of financing the ASHP, plus the cost of service calls and maintenance contracts were added.


Almost all owners would need traditional back-up systems (wood, natural gas, propane, oil), because the heat output, Btu/h, of ASHPs would be decreasing at the same time the heat demand of the house would be increasing on cold days.

Those back-up systems have their own cost of financing, and cost of service calls and maintenance contracts. See URLs.






Typical space heating demands of 2000-ft2, free-standing Vermont houses are shown in table 6.


Table 6/Vermont



Heat Demand

Peak Demand

Air Leakage







-50 pascal

Typical older house

1750 - 1990







Newer house

1990 - 2000







Newer house, IECC

2000 - 2012















Newer house, IECC

2012 - 2021







“HI/HS house”

2000 - present








1985 - present









The Vermont Comprehensive Energy Plan, CEP, projects to install about 35,000 cold-climate heat pumps, HPs, by 2025 to begin the transformation of about 63% of building heating to renewable electricity by 2050. About 34% would be by biomass (wood burning) and bio liquids, and only about 3% would be by fossil fuels. See page 8 of URL



As a result, Vermont State government is subsidizing a HP program for residential and other buildings, which could not be successful (reducing annual energy costs and CO2eq), unless at least 80% of all Vermont buildings had deep retrofits. This surely was known before the program was started, but RE rah-rah and subsidies got the program going anyway. 


It is downright criminal for the state government, GMP, VT-DPS, VPIRG, VEIC, Efficiency Vermont, Efficiency Vermont-approved contractors, etc., to obfuscate the drawbacks of HPs and use subsidies (extorted from other ratepayers and taxpayers) to cajole Vermonters to have HPs, when it is abundantly clear, the annual energy cost savings are more than wiped out by: 


- Annual loan payments to utilities, such as GMP

- Annual cost of amortizing invested capital, at 5%/y for 15 years

- Annual maintenance contract fees, at about $150/y, no parts

- Cost for unscheduled outages, at about $150/call, no parts


The heat pumps for houses mainly are cold climate, ductless, mini-split units that have a heating/cooling unit mounted on an indoor wall and a ground-mounted compressor unit adjacent to the building. Heat pumps work best in houses with open floor plans on the downstairs floor, i.e., kitchen/living/dining is one big room. Almost all mini-split heat pumps are imported from Japan and Korea, i.e., adds to US trade deficit and sends money out of Vermont. See URL.




The Vermont Heat Pump Promotion Troika


1) GMP: Kristin Carlson, GMP's vice president for strategic and external affairs, said in an email that the utility has now installed 1,125 heat pumps.


- GMP arranges for the installation with an Efficiency Vermont-approved contractor.

- The contractor chooses the heat pump brand and model; brands include Daikin, Fujitsu, and Mitsubishi, with outputs ranging from 9,000 Btu/h to 18,000 Btu/h.

- GMP loan at an interest rate is 10.74%/y. That appears to be a usury rate!

- GMP says that payments will range from $49 to $81 per month, depending on the model of heat pump that's installed.

- Maintenance is included; no mention of parts or outage service calls

- That doesn't include the electricity required to run the unit.

- Should a homeowner sell the house before the loan is repaid, GMP says it can offer a buy-out price for the heat pump, or the new owner could pick up the payments.



Table 7/HP cost




HP capacity, Btu/h




HP turnkey cost, $




Monthly payment at 10.74% for 15y, $




Annual payment, $





Annual Cost Summary


Table 8/Vermont


With HP

Fuel oil price, $/gallon



Electricity price, $/kWh


Fuel oil, gal/y



Fuel oil displaced by HP, gal/y


Fuel oil cost, $/y



Electricity consumed, kWh/y


Electricity cost, $/y


Total energy   cost, $/y



Energy cost saving, $/y



GMP loan, average cost, $/y^


Amortize back-up system, $/y*



Total cost, $/y



LOSS, $/y



Not Counted

Maintenance contract for HP, no parts, $/y


Outage calls for HP, no parts, $/call


Maintenance contract for back-up system, no parts, $/y



Outage calls for back-up system, no parts, $/call




* Amortize $10,000 back-up system at 5% for 20 y

^ GMP loan, average cost = (49 + 81)/2 x 12 = $780/y, includes (unspecified) HP maintenance. Does that include HP outage calls?


NOTE: With a carbon tax on fuel oil, the outcome can be tipped in favor of HPs.


2) Efficiency Vermont: According to a fact sheet at Efficiency Vermont, a homeowner would save:


- $1,842/y by shifting 80% of the heating load away from electric resistance heat to a cold-climate heat pump.

- Propane users would save $1,268/y.

- Fuel oil users would save $865/y.

- The “fact sheet” (fiction sheet?) is no longer accessible!


3) VPIRG, an RE Lobby: VPIRG, a booster of renewable energy, mostly financed by Vermont RE businesses, estimated the annual savings of a heat pump at $1000 to $1500 on a $3000 household heating bill. It appears, VPIRG grabbed a number out of the air, because it looked good.



People Complaining About Less than Promised Savings


The GMP. VPIRG, Efficiency Vermont Troika made rosy savings claims that had no factual basis, but, as expected, lured people to install heat pumps. GMP and EV-approved installation contractors made a lot of money.


It is likely most heat pumps were installed in houses with average, and less than average, insulation and sealing.

It is likely people complained about less than promised savings to their legislators and to the VT-DPS.


After many complaints, VT-DPS performed a survey of actual heat pump installations and their performance.


- The DPS study found the seasonal average COP was about 1.2 at -10F, which is dismal, as it would be similar to heating your house with electricity on the coldest days.

- The average saving was $200/heat pump/y, which is grossly less than advertised.

Make sure to read the report. See URL.



Here is the main conclusion from the report:

  1. Overall dollar savings are impacted by the efficiency of the back‐up fossil fuel system. The higher the efficiency of the back-up system, the smaller the amount of fuel is being displaced by the heat pump.
  2. Houses with poor insulation levels and air leaks will not get as much benefit out of a heat pump, as will highly sealed, well- insulated houses.
  3. It is unlikely a heat pump by itself would be sufficient to heat a typical house, without use of a traditional heating system as a backup on cold days.


For the annual savings to be only $200/y, most of the houses had to have poor insulation and sealing. EV and its approved contractors likely did not properly survey those houses and did not give proper warning to those households. They likely were eager to install as many heat pumps as possible.


Vermont has very few energy-efficient houses (highly insulate/highly sealed), likely at most 10% of all houses. Only those houses are candidates for heat pumps. The articles in the media describing the benefits of heat pumps in glowing terms usually are regarding thosehouses.


There likely are another 15% of houses that could be upgraded to be energy efficient (“deep retrofits”), at a cost of at least $30,000 each, which likely would make them candidates for heat pumps.


The rest of the houses (75%) are “energy hog houses” that are completely unsuitable for heat pumps, because the heat output of the heat pumps would be insufficient for those houses on cold days, say 25 F, and below. It would be too expensive to upgrade those houses for heat pumps.


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Comment by Willem Post on December 24, 2018 at 12:05pm

Thank you, Dan

As low as -15F is horse manure

ccHPs do not provide EFFICIENT heating at those temperatures, because the COP is about 1.15 at -15F, and 1.10 at -20F

COP = 1.00 is equivalent to electric heating

The COST PER HOUR of heating is higher with a ccHP at 0F and below, compared to ONLY FUEL OIL.

Owners should TURN OFF their heat pumps at about 0F and below. This is also true for highly insulated, highly sealed houses.



Comment by Dan McKay on December 24, 2018 at 7:39am

The Liberty Report did no customer surveys to determine load changes that may have changed with heat pump installations, but did add this observation :

"Significant penetration of heat pumps employing electricity as a backup source heightens the weather impacts on usage in cold weather. CMP management has cited substantial growth in heat pump use but does not have solid estimates of how many now exist. There is, however, evidence of significant growth. Efficiency Maine’s FY2017 Annual Report observed that, “We continued to help Maine lead the nation in adoption of high-efficiency ductless heat pumps, and have now promoted more than 25,700 installations in the past five years.” Customers experiencing their first extended period of severe weather after installing a heat pump can find increases in electricity usage surprising, even as they benefit from reduction in the costs of the heating source displaced."

EMT, a jubilant promoter of heat pumps, offers this :

"Ductless heat pumps provide heat by extracting heat from outside air and delivering it indoors as needed. Because they are moving heat, rather than generating it through combustion or resistance, heat pumps can achieve efficiencies well above 100%. Long used for cooling in warm climates, heat pumps are now able to provide efficient heating in cold climates even at outdoor temperatures as low as -15 °F.  "

Comment by Willem Post on December 23, 2018 at 10:06pm

Hi Eric,

The user ends up getting billed the same kWh, whether monitoring is on a 120 volt or 240 volt line

Comment by Eric A. Tuttle on December 23, 2018 at 6:32pm

know they can be hooked up either way, so during the installation at a friends house, I stood over them every inch of the way. I made sure that the jumpers inside that convert it from 120 to 240 were positioned correctly and that they ran a 240v wiring circuit. 

Comment by Eric A. Tuttle on December 23, 2018 at 6:25pm

Power draw = 12 A x 240 V x 0.9 PF/1000 = 2.592 kW; a 20 A breaker is required (Double Pole)

Power draw = 24 A x 120 V x 0.9 PF/1000 = 2.592 kW; a 40 A breaker is required (Single Pole)

The 240v hookup would divide the 2.592 kW across both legs coming into the home.

1.296 on each. The meter is only looking at 1.296 with this installation.

The 120v hookup would apply the entire 2.592 kW to one leg while the other side would read Zero.

The meter is monitoring the higher of the two sides. 

Thus the usage would appear to be double on a power billing.

Though the Unit is using the exact same amount of total power. 

Comment by Willem Post on December 23, 2018 at 3:20pm


I read the report.

Not a word about heat pumps.

If people kept their heat pumps running during the cold snap, their bills would skyrocket.

I am looking for a survey of existing heat pumps in Maine that would corroborate the one in Vermont.

Comment by Dan McKay on December 23, 2018 at 1:15pm

Willem, if you go to the Maine PUC website and  follow the link : 

Liberty Consulting Report Released Related to Forensic Audit of CMP's Metering and Billing Systems

This report came about from complaints of high electric bills from the cold snap of last year. It may contain some useful information for you. 
Comment by Willem Post on December 23, 2018 at 1:04pm

Hi Dan,

It would be very useful to have the complaint history of ccHP owners for the past 5 years.

That data must be somewhere, but likely is carefully hidden, as it was in Vermont, until recently.

Fuel oil dealers might have the best data.

Power draw = 12 A x 240 V x 0.9 PF/1000 = 2.592 kW; a 20 A breaker is required 

Power draw = 24 A x 120 V x 0.9 PF/1000 = 2.592 kW; a 40 A breaker is required

Heat pump power draw at 18000 Btu/r output and COP of 3.0 = (6000 Btu/h)/(3412 Btu/kWh) x 1/0.9 = 1.954 kW, as metered by utility.   

Comment by Eric A. Tuttle on December 23, 2018 at 11:59am

Dan McKay

I must ask if there are any statistics on how many Maine residents that have complaints about a higher energy usage allowed the installer to install the unit using 120v vs 240v.

Most homes in the U.S. use 120v for most common appliances. Even electric ranges though hooked up as a 240v unit, utilize 120v per topside burner with only oven elements using 240v. 

In using 120v units, often homes find themselves by random chance having a Load Imbalance, meaning more power is drawn from one leg of the 240v coming to the home than the other.

Since our metering system only monitors the higher of the two sides, we pay for the high side reading. While the low side use is undetectable.

Having a ccHP hooked up as a 120v unit would place the entire power usage on one side which may already be the High Monitored side, thus increasing the apparent consumption even higher.

This may be remedied sometimes, by attaching the 120v unit to the low side where it may go unnoticed.

Though the best option for everyone is to use a 240v hookup for homes, for all appliances this ccHP should have been done in such a way and Efficiency Maine and the likes should be insisting on it. 

Everyone should have a qualified person to do a LOAD BALANCE check on their homes when they start seeing unexplained usage increases. 

Often Loose Screws at the Breaker is the cause, as they loosen up over time as power is used and heats the wire and cools when power is not used. This too should be done either by a qualified person or with the Main Turned OFF.  No homeowner should ever try to tighten the wires to the Main Breaker. Only Qualified persons.

A 12Amp 240v ccHP hooked up as a 120v ccHP is 24Amps. The meter reads Amps, not voltage. 

Comment by Willem Post on December 23, 2018 at 11:15am

Thank you, Dan.

Your comments are much appreciated.

I will add the data to the article.


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Maine Center For Public Interest Reporting – Three Part Series: A CRITICAL LOOK AT MAINE’S WIND ACT


(excerpts) From Part 1 – On Maine’s Wind Law “Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine if the law’s goals were met." . – Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, August 2010 https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-power-bandwagon-hits-bumps-in-the-road-3/From Part 2 – On Wind and Oil Yet using wind energy doesn’t lower dependence on imported foreign oil. That’s because the majority of imported oil in Maine is used for heating and transportation. And switching our dependence from foreign oil to Maine-produced electricity isn’t likely to happen very soon, says Bartlett. “Right now, people can’t switch to electric cars and heating – if they did, we’d be in trouble.” So was one of the fundamental premises of the task force false, or at least misleading?" https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-swept-task-force-set-the-rules/From Part 3 – On Wind-Required New Transmission Lines Finally, the building of enormous, high-voltage transmission lines that the regional electricity system operator says are required to move substantial amounts of wind power to markets south of Maine was never even discussed by the task force – an omission that Mills said will come to haunt the state.“If you try to put 2,500 or 3,000 megawatts in northern or eastern Maine – oh, my god, try to build the transmission!” said Mills. “It’s not just the towers, it’s the lines – that’s when I begin to think that the goal is a little farfetched.” https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/flaws-in-bill-like-skating-with-dull-skates/

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 -- Mahatma Gandhi

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Hannah Pingree on the Maine expedited wind law

Hannah Pingree - Director of Maine's Office of Innovation and the Future

"Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine."


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